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Friday, April 24, 2020

Dischidia - Introduction

Dischidia is genus where it is closely related to Hoya (it is a bigger version of waxy foliage and showy flowers) This one is much smaller and compact. Most of these dischidia rarely flower but when they do - they appear to have tiny flowers which are insignificant.
Only few types are cultivated as ornamental plants.

There are few varieties available here sold in nurseries as ornamental plants. It's rarely makes its appearance and when it does - its very much sold in flower shows and exhibitions or more notably may need to hunt for them seeking them as they are usually sold in small quantities and often taken off (sold off) and never restocked.

I'm suspecting that it is an acquired taste as I rarely find them sold in main-line nurseries. These sometimes make their comeback in some seasons but in most cases - its a rare find.

I have manage to get few here and there - some bought and some exchanged with fellow gardeners from their collection. They are indeed hardy plant but they grow ever so slowly just like the Hoya species which also give another set back that they can slowly die if not given proper care.

Some Dischidia appear to grow faster than others and often the slower ones are the variegated version. Care need to be given when the plant is accidentally injured as they produce a latex which can be harmful for sensitive skin.

These are epiphye and therefore the do get clingy on nearby support of branches or tree trunks. I for one grow them on kokedama balls and create a unique growing feature in their own world. Their stems does produce roots along the nodes to absorb nutrients and water and provide additional support for the plant around the kokedama balls.

One of my favorite cascading plants. 
Here I grow them without much care and they had heavily taken over the gate side and I had to rethink in re-arranging them to give a nicely cooler look. The invasive look doesn't give that cool look I was hoping for - nevertheless - they are without any care - except for daily watering.

The locals calls its "duit-duit" resembling coins (also equivalent to another look-a-like fern species)
These grows wildly on the trees without my care - often heavily canopy over tree trunks in an invasive manner.

Often mistaken dischidia as a parasite plant which looks almost alike another species known as Dragon scale Fern (Pyrrosia piloselloides)

One of the things about this fern is that it can totally envelop everything and choke whatever that grows on that particular tree trunk.

Again its a contention whether this fern is a parasite or not. 
Reminds me of the Strangling Fig that finds its way from the branches and invade the roots and totally choking the tree.  I wonder if this fern behaves the same.

The Care & Cultivation of Dischidia is very much similar with Hoya species

Basic Care & Maintenance of Dischidia:

This require a fast draining medium - something like orchid medium mix. 
It does well with a mixture of perlite, sphagnum moss, cocopeat & bark mix. 

It should not be a strong drainage mix where it doesn't hold any moisture at all but it should not be holding water too where the roots and stem can rot too. The balance of both is ideal.

Sometimes the nursery plant them - rolling them in a coconut husk making a ball from it. Another medium will be coconut husk stuffed inside a seashell with the dischidia hanging from it.
For sometime - it would look cool but eventually it get spend and burned due to lack of root growth and nutrients - making the plant leggy and trying to escape elsewhere.

I water daily and twice during the hot dry days. These can go without water for few days to a week and perhaps you have to take note on how the foliage appearance - if it appears withered or drying than watering is mandatory. The downside of watering will cost the leaves to turn yellow and start rotting - therefore - the right balance is necessary.

Dischidia is not a totally shade loving plant but you can place them in bright indoors area. I for one had experience where when it is placed in dark areas - they rarely show new growth  and appears to be very leggy (the leaves nodes along the stem appear to phase out far apart and it is very unsightly especially when you prefer to have a compact foliage plants)

These are trailing plant and more on the wild side. The seemed to do well in most unforgiving conditions but at times - just barely surviving and it is indeed a slow growing plant - so don't expect much if you received a small cuttings and looking forward for new growth - It may take many months to actually notice anything.

I for one, just place them in their ideal spot and consider that done there and routinely water them on daily basis and weekly spray flowering fertilizer on them hoping them to bloom. Otherwise, it's another trailing foliage plant that I'm contented with.

Other Factors:

1) Do take effort to foliar fertilizer on them to induce new growth or else it will remain in that same size for months.

2) It's a trailing plant - so do allow space for it to grow and trail heavy, it will climb and vine everywhere - so do take note on that garden space in place them permanently as once it captured and coiled within the garden space - it will be difficult to remove them without cause damage to the vine or foliage.

3) This plant does produce aerial roots and may start off new shoots hence a new plant from a different location where it had rooted. You can propagate new plants from here but do it soon or if in case it had established itself - it would be too difficult to remove them without damaging them.

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Tropical Garden, Batu Caves, Malaysia
My Malaysian Tropical Garden mainly focused on unique and colorful plants ranging from rare to common plants all around the tropical belt across the world. Ideal for inspiration for challenging areas in the garden space - indoor gardening, balcony gardening and small green spaces especially for ariods, bromeliads, begonias, edibles, cascading & vertical garden plants, succulents & cacti, orchids, together with both shade and sun loving plants.

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